Every year in the United States, 13.1 million tons of textiles are thrown away.
13.1 million tons!
That’s the equivalent weight of more than 26,800 Boeing 747 aircrafts, more than 7 million 2016 Toyota Camrys, or more than 2.6 billion 10-pound dumbbells!
But it’s not only the enormous weight that goes to waste that’s shocking. If you take into account the hazardous chemicals included in the textiles, the situation is much worse.
Chemicals like formaldehyde – which is used to temporarily preserve dead animals, like cats – can be found in clothing. And a 2011 Greenpeace report, Dirty Laundry 2, found that environmentally harmful manmade chemicals called nonylphenol ethoxylates (NPEs) and nonylphenols (NPs) are also contained in big brand name clothing companies. NPs and NPEs can cause hormone disruptions, and once they reach wastewater treatment facilities, they cannot completely break down. Because of lax regulations, wastewater is allowed to be discharged into rivers, where NPs have a negative effect on fish and other aquatic systems.
It’s crucial that we protect and care for the world we live in today in whatever way we can. And one of those ways is to support businesses working to do just that.
After poking around on Instagram one evening, I came across an account called LA Relaxed, a new Los Angeles-based eco-friendly clothing line that’s taking part in reducing textile waste and the harmful chemicals used by many large name clothing brands!
Some fast facts about LA Relaxed:
It uses materials that are as least harmful to the environment as possible
Some of these materials are:
– Organic cotton: Organic cotton is void of toxins used in conventional cotton that is harmful for both farmers and the environment. It’s also better quality because the fiber isn’t weakened by chemical cleansers. The material is also skin-friendly, soothing, and is the most harmless natural fiber.
- Modal: Derived from Beachwood trees, modal fabric is 95 percent recyclable and creates virtually no waste. It’s also great for travel because wrinkles come right out even after the clothing has been stuffed into a suitcase! Modal is a naturally hypoallergenic fabric that has a soft and silky texture so it feels nice to wear.
Tencel: A natural fiber that is extracted from eucalyptus trees, tencel is manufactured with no harmful chemicals used. (Fun fact: It’s 50 percent more absorbent than cotton and it’s antibacterial.) Although there are small amounts of emissions that result from making the material, they decompose in biological purification plants. One of the best things about Tencel fabric is that it is biodegradable and recyclable!
Flax: Flax is a hypoallergenic, naturally biodegradable and recyclable.
It avoids waste and overstock by recycling and donating extra materials
Instead of simply trashing excess material, LA Relaxed repurposes extra clothing by donating any excess to local design schools and using it in its hangtags, among other things.
The company has even previously reused extra material to make scarves that ended up becoming a bestseller!
It was established in 2014 by apparel manufacturing industry veterans
Dana Weinstein created LA Relaxed along with her industry partner, Rafael Guzman, in 2014 with more than 25 years of experience as an apparel manufacturer in Los Angeles. Her concern for the environment rose after realizing how much goes to waste, and she wants the company to be about educating and spreading awareness. She also has a passion for creating new blends of fabric with chemicals that are as least harmful to the environment as possible.
LA Relaxed works with the only dye house in the city that uses solar energy
The dye house LA Relaxed works with obtains 80 percent of its electricity from their solar panels! Since fashion is the third most polluting industry in the world, coming right after oil and agriculture, it’s nice to know the company is reducing its carbon footprint by collaborating with another company that is doing the same.
Timeless fashion that embodies Los Angeles
The inspiration behind the style of each piece of clothing from LA Relaxed comes from Los Angeles. And, of course, the clothing is very relaxed. But one of the best parts about the clothing line, is, in addition to it being eco-friendly, it’s not fast fashion. So, there’s no need to constantly replace items in your wardrobe. (Hooray for less waste!)
“We don’t want [the clothes] to be something that is going to go out of style. I feel like these are all garments that I could have [had] hanging in my closet from 10 years ago easily. And then 10 years from now, I can have that same gray shirt hanging in my closet,” Dana said, pointing to a shirt that was hanging on the wall during our interview.
Business is conducted solely in the United States
It’s rare these days to find pick up a piece of clothing and find “Made in USA” printed on the tag. In fact, only 2 percent of clothing sold in the United States is made domestically. LA Relaxed is part of that 2 percent. “The made in USA part [is] so, so, so, close to my heart. I can say with absolute certainty – it doesn’t matter how big we get, how big we grow, I will not move this out of the U.S.,” she said. Through the relationships she’s cultivated with local suppliers and contractors, Dana has managed to keep production in America.
LA Relaxed is available at Whole Foods
With the name LA Relaxed, Dana says where the company can go is “limitless.” The company is exploring other styles. Men’s, pajamas, and kids lines are all future possibilities, and it’ll be really exciting to see what the future holds for this eco-conscious LA-based clothing line 🙂